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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (cont.)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes

The cause of CFS is unknown, but the condition may be related to infection with effects on the immune system. Several viruses have been studied as possible causes of CFS, but no cause-and-effect relationship has been discovered. Some evidence indicates that the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae (which causes pneumonia and other illnesses) may be a cause of CFS in some cases. People with chronic fatigue syndrome related to C. pneumoniae are most likely to respond to antibiotics that kill C. pneumoniae, and their CFS symptoms may improve with antibiotic medications such as doxycycline. However, this association is still being debated. Various unrelated infections appear to lead to long-term fatigue in some people. If the fatigue is accompanied by problems with short-term memory or concentration, CFS is possible.

  • One of the associated infections is the Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV. EBV causes mononucleosis, also called "mono" or the "kissing disease." Although associated in some cases, EBV does not cause CFS, and CFS is not the same thing as long-term EBV infection or long-term mononucleosis.
  • Other unrelated infectious diseases that appear to lead to fatigue include pneumonia, diarrhea, and bronchitis.
  • Candida albicans infections (or yeast infections) do not cause CFS.

Other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of CFS must be ruled out. These include the following:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome »

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder of unknown etiology that probably has an infectious basis.

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